Rennie Harris Funkedified is an evening-long multimedia presentation that navigates pathways linking funk music and street dance of the ‘70s to the hip-hop culture of today. Choreographed and narrated by Harris himself, the show was performed recently at The University of Texas’ Bass Concert Hall in Austin using ME-500 personal mixers from Allen & Heath.
Production for the event was provided by Austin’s own StageTech, Inc., which additionally brought in an Allen & Heath dLive S7000, multiple dLive S Class MixRacks, a GLD80 and an array of Allen & Heath’s ME personal mixing systems. Deployed for use by six musicians onstage, the ME-500 personal mixers provided a walk-up mix solution that quickly let the band build and control its own mixes.
“We knew we weren’t going to have much time with the musicians beforehand,” recalls StageTech’s Charles Mester. “So we conﬁgured each of the ME-500 systems in a fashion that made the best use of each of their 16 available inputs.”
Using the available ME output port in monitor world, the six ME-500 units were quickly daisy-chained and auto-populated via a single ethernet cable running between each. In a move calculated to beneﬁt overall eﬃciencies, Mester created a drum subgroup that was the sum of all of the drum channels and assigned it to a single input on each ME-500. The remaining 15 ME-500 channels were given over to independent voices and instruments that would serve as a palette from which each musician could pick and choose as they pleased.
Once the monitor desk was set up the StageTech crew had the ME-500s up and running in under 30 minutes. Despite none of the musicians having ever used one of the devices before, shortly after a 30-second tutorial from Mester the entire band was comfortable with the mixes they created.
“In theory we could have kept daisy-chaining up to any scale,” Mester adds. “The system was a good option for us because it kept stage volume down in an environment where we already had a lot of wedges for the dancers and placed the band’s control right in front of them. Anywhere there are a lot of moving parts onstage the ME-500s are beneﬁcial. We placed a lot of funk in the trunk, that’s for sure.”